Words of Encouragement

In today’s first reading we hear from the Prophet Haggai, who ministered in the postexilic period when the Jewish people, under a grant from King Cyrus of Persia, returned to Jerusalem. But it was not the Jerusalem remembered by their parents and grandparents. This was the Jerusalem that had been destroyed by the Babylonians – Temple, buildings and even the protective walls. Jerusalem was a rebuilding and restoration project of immense proportions. Jerusalem was their national identity – and it lay in ruins. Continue reading

A new feast day?

BradyToday is September 23, 2021. It was 20 years ago that Tom Brady became the starting quarterback for the New England Patriots – a job he has had ever since in an amazing career. I received an email this morning from a Tampa Bay Bucs fan who inquired about my position on the possibility of establishing a feast day celebration or at least an optional memorial given the day is otherwise unoccupied by any other special commemoration.

Such things are not up to me…. although I did want to inquire whether this person had set up a home shrine to the GOAT. Continue reading

The Causes of Sin

Next Sunday is the 26th Sunday in Year B of the lectionary cycle with the Gospel reading be taken from Mark 9:38-48. As in the gospel of last Sunday, this gospel also continues the teaching and preparation of the disciples. In the gospel, it seems as thought the preparation is still a “work in progress.”

In seminary exegesis courses one is taught to look for details that indicate a change of scene, location, or other markers to indicate the boundaries of a particular pericope (a technical word used in exegesis meaning “narrative” – and a word that auto-correction keeps wanting to change to “periscope,” which given my history serving on nuclear submarines is kinda’ interesting.). There are no such markers in the text. It is a safe bet to assume Jesus is still in Capernaum, surrounded by the Twelve, with a child in their midst (9:33-37). The expression “little ones” may well also include those given a cup of water because they bear the name of Jesus (v.41). Continue reading